DIY Hanging String Ball Decorations

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Last summer we moved David into his “big boy” room to make room for his new baby brother in the nursery. I wanted to make his room personalized for him without looking too cheesy (for instance, I just can’t get on board with the life-size cartoon character wall decals).

David is OBSESSED with balls, so a ball-themed room was a natural choice. I wanted to make some sort of decoration for his room–something that would look nice and be relatively easy to make since I really have very little patience for all things crafty. In the end, I decided to make these hanging string balls that I grouped together and have hanging over his dresser.

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Each ball took me about 15 minutes to make, and an easy 15 minutes at that. They are simple to put together and, since you don’t have to think about what you’re doing as you’re doing it, you can zone out and listen to music or an audiobook while you’re “working”. They were also inexpensive–I bought all of the supplies to make 7 string balls for less than $20 (and I had enough string left over to make about a dozen more, if I’d been so motivated).

I actually enjoyed making these balls so much that I would like to do this project again in the future (when I have time, which is never–so it probably won’t happen, but I would still like to.). It would be fun to work with some other fun colors of string and sizes of balls so I could have the balls on hand for party decorations.

Here’s the how-to if you’d like to make your own hanging ball decor:

Supplies:

  • plastic playground ball (Target had a wide variety of sizes, from wiffle ball size to beach ball size. Choose a ball that is the same size as you want your string ball to be).
  • 1 spool cotton crochet thread in your desired color (I used one similar to this and it was plenty for 5 small balls).
  • plastic sheeting to cover your work surface
  • 1 plastic tub (large enough to submerge your spool of thread in)
  • 2 16-ounce bottles of Elmer’s glue (just the typical white glue)
  • Paper towels
  • 1 can of spray-on glue
  • clear fishing line
  • 1 needle from a sports ball pump

Instructions:

  • Cover your work surface (and the floor beneath) with plastic sheeting or some over type of covering. This can get a bit messy!
  • Dump 1 bottle of glue into the plastic tub. Add a few tablespoons of water to the glue to thin it out just a bit.
  • Put the spool of thread into the glue mixture in the tub. Roll it around until the spool is completely covered in glue. If you don’t have enough glue to completely cover your spool of thread, add more glue. You want your thread really goopy.
  • Hold your plastic ball and start wrapping the thread around it in a random criss-cross IMG_2238pattern (leave the thread in the plastic tub, and just pull it to unravel as you’re going. Make sure all of the thread is saturated with glue.). Do NOT cover about a 2-inch diameter circle around the ball’s air valve (where you would pump more air into the ball). This is where you will remove the plastic ball after the thread is dry. Really go for it, and just keep wrapping. The more thread you use, the better your ball will stay together and the awesome-er it will look when it’s all done. This gets pretty messy, so that’s why you’ve got the paper towels on hand. Wipe up the excess goopy glue that’s dripping off the thread as you’re going.
  • When you feel that your ball is sufficiently covered in thread, loop the thread through some of your criss-crosses and tie it off. Cut the thread off of the spool and set your ball upside down (on the air valve that you didn’t cover with string) to dry overnight.
  • Once the thread is completely dry, take the ball pump needle and insert it into the ball’s air valve. This will release all of the air from inside the ball. Once the ball is deflated, pull it out through the opening you left near the original ball’s air valve.
  • Loop some of the fishing line through the top part of the thread ball and tie it off to make a “hanger” for your ball.
  • Take your thread ball outside and spray it inside and out with the spray-on glue (Hold on to the fishing line so you can spray the whole ball without getting your hands all glue-y).
  • Hang the ball up by the fishing line so the spray on glue can dry completely.
  • Once all of your glue is dry, you should be ready to hang up your thread ball for decoration!

I grouped 7 balls together for my son’s room, but you could do whatever you want with the balls. If you want to make multiple balls, you can either pump up the same plastic ball to use again as the ball form, or you can just use a variety of different plastic balls. I tried beach balls as the ball form, as well, but they didn’t hold their shape as well as the playground balls.

Happy crafting!

A Clever Way To Give A Coffee Gift Card

photo (2)I was a classroom teacher for 5 years before I “retired” to begin my new career as a full-time Household Engineer (a.k.a. “Mom”). You may not be able to tell, but teachers look forward to the end of the school year even more than the students do. Much, much more. And it’s not because we teachers want to get rid of the kids, or even because we’re excited to go on fancy vacations (because, really, no teacher can afford to go on a fancy vacation even if she wants to). No, we get excited for the end of the year because we are exhausted. Teaching is a job that requires you to pour yourself out for your students each and every day– physically, mentally and emotionally. And, even though we love what we do, we need a break. A well-deserved break, I might add!

My kids aren’t in school yet, but we do go to a Bible study class every week. David has two loving teachers who spend countless hours every week preparing for his class, praying for him, and coming up with creative ways to teach a dozen energetic 2-year olds. Tomorrow is our last day of class for the year, so I wanted to get a little end-of-the-year gift for David’s teachers.

Now, here’s a little secret: teachers all want the same thing when it comes to gifts. Hint: it’s not something covered in apples, chalkboards or books. It’s not made out of crayons or tempera paint. It’s not purchased at Bath and Body Works or Yankee Candle. No, what every teacher really wants is:

A GIFT CARD!

I know, it seems kinda lame and impersonal–but it’s practical and something that she will actually use. Plus, she can use her gift card to pamper herself a bit–and for somebody who is used to taking care of everybody else first, that really is the best gift.

I decided to get David’s teachers some gift cards to Starbucks. Who doesn’t like Starbucks? And, since it is a gift, I wanted to package them creatively. I found several ideas on the internet for gift card presentation, but my favorite idea came from a website called Alphamom.com. She took a standard Starbucks cup and made a cover for the back of the cup where the barista usually checks off what type of drink you’re ordering. Instead of the usual boxes for decaf, extra shots, etc. she replaced it with the teacher’s qualities (kind, helpful, etc.) and checked them all off. Such a cute idea!

I borrowed this idea and just made my own version on my computer so I could personalize it for David’s teachers. This is a quick and easy project (each cup took about 2 minutes to make) and costs nothing more than the gift card itself.  I know that his teachers will love them! The instructions are below if you’d like to make your own Starbucks card holder:

How To Make Your Own Personalized Starbucks Gift Card Holder

Supplies:
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  • Starbucks gift card
  • “short” paper coffee cup (the size they use for a kid’s hot chocolate)
  • printable cup cover from Alphamom or make your own (I just used a standard word processing program on my computer. The boxes I created say “Loves Jesus”, “Teaches God’s Word”, “Instructs me”, “Helps me have fun!”, and “Cares for me”)
  • scissors
  • glue
  • Sharpie marker
  • tissue paper or shredded paper for filler in the cup

Instructions:

  1. Create and/or print off your cup cover. Cut it out and glue it onto the cup.
  2. Use the Sharpie marker to check off all of the “teacher quality” boxes on the back  of the cup and write your teacher’s name on the front of the cup.
  3. Fill the cup with tissue paper and tuck the gift card on top

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That’s it, easy-peasy! They turned out super cute and it’s such a clever way to present the gift card. I will also be including a card that David is coloring with the message “Thanks A Latte” on the front. Thank you to all of you amazing teachers out there!

Mother’s Day Thumbprint Flower Craft

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As you can tell by the content of this blog, I love being a mom. “Mom” is really a title of honor, and I wear it with a lot of pride. You can imagine, then, how excited I get for Mother’s Day. But it’s not just for me. I have an amazing mom, the mom who taught me how to be a mom. She has inspired me, encouraged me, prayed over me, and loved me my whole life–and now she is continuing this legacy with my children. This weekend we get to honor all of the wonderful moms out there, and that’s something to celebrate!

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I usually make cards for my mom and mother-in-law on Mother’s Day, and this year I wanted to get my boys in on the action. Since they’re so young, I wanted to do something simple that would also be somewhat personalized. I found some cute ideas for thumbprint crafts and poems online, so I just melded them all together to create this craft. I will be making mine into cards, but you could just as easily frame the artwork to make a keepsake gift. Enjoy!

Thumbprint Flower How-To:

Materials:

  • White paper
  • Green marker or crayon
  • Paint (green and at least one other color)
  • (Optional) Crayons to decorate
  1. Trim a piece of white paper to your desired size (I just cut a piece of printer paper in half so I could make two pictures per card).
  2. Use a green marker to draw a stem/stems on your paper.
  3. Paint a small circle slightly above your stemIMG_2149
  4. Put a small amount of paint on a plate. Dip one of your child’s fingertips into the paint and dab it around the painted circle to make the flower petals. You will probably be able to make 3-4 “petals” before you need to get more paint on your fingertip. You can use one color for the petals or a variety of colors. When you are done painting the flower petals, wipe off your finger (unless you like your 2-year old having red fingerpaint up his nose. Just sayin’.)
  5. Put a dot of green paint on a plate. Dip your child’s thumb into the green paint and use it to make leaves on the flower stem. Now wipe off your thumb.
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  6. After your flower has dried completely, you can decorate your picture. Older kids may enjoy drawing grass, sunshine, sky, clouds, birds, etc. to complete the artwork. I also typed up the following poem to attach to my flowers:
    A piece of me I give to you
    I used my thumb and fingers, too.
    I made you this flower so you will know
    How much I love you as I grow.
    A mother’s love and tender care
    Make happiness bloom everywhere!
  7. Sign your child’s name and the year, wrap it up all pretty-like, and watch your mom swoon!

To all the moms and grandmas out there, Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you feel honored and blessed on your special day!

BBQ-Week Menu and How To Make Your Own Pizza On The Grill

A strange phenomenon happened this week here in Seattle. Our usual gray clouds and cool temperatures were replaced with this wonderful warm shining orb in the sky: the sun. Temperatures are supposed to be in the 70’s for the next week or so, which basically means that everyone in the Pacific Northwest is freaking out. People are already calling in “sick” to work and children are gleefully jumping into the frigid Puget Sound waters. The parkas have come off and we’re ready to celebrate.

When we get these nice warm days in Seattle I like to spend as much time outside as possible. You really never know when your next chance to get Vitamin-D in a form other than “pill” will be. So, I decided to organize our entire menu this week around using our BBQ Grill–I won’t even have to go inside to cook! At the end of the post, I’ve also included a little “how-to” for making pizza on your grill. Happy BBQ’ing–at least until the rain returns next week.

Monday- Burgers
Tuesday- (no grilling tonight since we’ll be at our Bible study)
Wednesday- Grilled Chicken Kebabs
Thursday- Bratwurst, Roasted Potatoes and Garlic (done in a tin foil pouch on the grill), Grilled Asparagus
Friday- BBQ’d Pizza (instructions below)
Saturday- Honey-Citrus Marinated Pork Chops and Fire-Roasted Peppers
Sunday- Mother’s Day = my day off of cooking!

How To Make Your Own Pizza On The Grill:

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  1. Preheat half of your grill on high heat and half on low heat.
  2. Make your dough and sauce. Or cheat, and buy them. I like Trader Joe’s pizza dough–it’s only about $1.50 per dough and it tastes just as good as any dough that I’ve ever made.
  3. Roll out your dough on a flat surface until it’s your desired thickness (a lightly oiled upside down cookie sheet or a lightly floured cutting board work well).
  4. Put the dough directly on the grill grates (use the hot section for this)
  5. Use tongs to gently rotate the dough for 2-3 minutes until the bottom side is browned and the dough holds its shape.
  6. Move the dough to the cooler section of the grill and flip it over. Put sauce, cheese, and toppings on your pizza.
  7. Return your pizza to the hot side of the grill and let your pizza cook until the cheese is melted and your dough is cooked through, about 3-5 more minutes.

* We like to use a pizza stone instead of putting the dough directly on the grill. If you use a stone, just leave the stone in the grill while it is preheating and assemble your pizza directly on the stone. You do not need to flip the dough, just cook your pizza until everything is cooked through, 5-7 minutes.

May Day Paper Flower Craft

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Today is May 1st, otherwise known as May Day, otherwise known as ding-dong-ditch-flower-day. When I was growing up I loved the tradition of picking flowers from my mom’s garden then leaving them on our neighbors’ doorstep. We would ring the doorbell and then run away to hide behind a bush while we waited for the unsuspecting inhabitants to discover their floral offerings.

I wanted to introduce David to May Day this year but, unfortunately, I don’t have any flowers growing in my garden (or lack thereof). Unless you count dandelions, which are actually a weed. So, no, I don’t have any flowers to leave for my neighbors.

Instead, we decided to make our own bouquets. This is a simple craft that I used to do with my first graders. When I was working with the older kids (older being 6-year olds vs. my 2-year old) they could do this whole project on their own. David was able to help with parts of it, but I did the vast majority of the crafting. The bouquets turned out really cute, though, and I am so excited to deliver them this afternoon!

Flower Bouquet How-To:

  • Gather your materials. For each bouquet you will need:
    -1 sheet of green paper (I used green computer paper, but you could use any kind you have)
    -either one sheet of white paper (painted or colored with crayons/markers) OR scraps of colored paper (construction paper or scrapbooking paper would both work well)
    -a writing utencil: pencil, pen, crayon or marker
    -scissors
    -stapler
    -glue/glue stick
  • If you are painting your paper, go ahead and start painting. Use lots of colors and cover the whole page. I chose to do this instead of pre-colored paper because David enjoys painting and it’s one of the only steps in this craft that he could do independently.
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  • Let your paper dry completely. While it is drying, fold your green paper in half horizontally (“hot dog-style”). Starting at the fold, draw lines every half-inch or so to about 3/4 of the way down the page. Draw flower shapes on your (dry) colored paper. You could draw any type of flower that you like, but I just stuck with the classic daisy.
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  • Cut along the lines on your green paper, making sure not to cut all the way to the edge of the paper. Roll up the green paper with the un-cut end at the bottom to make a sort of tube. Secure the base with staples. Put your hand in the center of the “tube” and press the strips of paper out.
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  • Cut out your flowers and glue them to the ends of each stem.
  • Enjoy your beautiful bouquet!

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This would also make a cute gift for Mother’s Day. Hint, hint, Daddy!

Thai Lettuce Wrap Recipe and This Week’s Menu

Now that we are officially in “imminent-moving mode” I have to start eating all of the food I have stock-piled in my pantry and freezer. I am, admittedly, a bit of a food hoarder. I love having well-stocked shelves and ready-to-heat meals in my freezer to make weeknight cooking easier. The only problem with this, however, is that if you have to, say, do something like move half-way around the world, there is a lot of eating that has to be done. And that’s exactly what we’ll be doing. For the next month or two until we leave I am going to be planning most of our meals around food that is in our pantry and/or freezer. Here’s what I’ve come up with for this week:

Thai Lettuce Wraps (recipe below) with Spring Rolls
Ricotta and Basil Stuffed Pasta Shells With Marinara
Sloppy Joe’s
Panang Curry with Potstickers
Grilled Salmon
Tamales with Black Beans and Rice

Below is my recipe for Thai Lettuce Wraps. I’ll be using ground turkey from my freezer and a few sauces from my fridge (we have a LOT of condiments to get through!). I like serving this family-style at the table so everyone can make as many Lettuce Wraps as they like.

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Thai Lettuce Wraps:
1 pound ground turkey
1 Tablespoon oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1-2 Tablespoons Teriyaki Sauce
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Siracha hot sauce (leave this out if you want it mild, add more if you like it spicy)
1 Tablespoon fresh, chopped cilantro
1 carrot, peeled and julienned or shredded
1 head butter lettuce (use Romaine if you can’t find butter lettuce), leaves separated

Separate lettuce leaves, rise and dry. Set lettuce leaves aside. Saute the garlic, ginger and oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes (don’t let the garlic turn brown). Add the ground turkey and brown the meat. Drain the juices from the browned ground turkey. Add the teriyaki sauce, soy sauce and Siracha to the ground turkey and heat over low heat–taste for seasoning and add more sauce if necessary. Remove meat from heat. Top a lettuce leaf with a spoonful of the meat mixture, cilantro and carrots (think of this as a lettuce taco). Eat and enjoy!

Our Family Recipe For The Most Amazing Cheesecake

This Sunday will be Easter, and that means we’ll be eating an Easter feast. And there’s no better way to end an Easter feast than with the perfect cheesecake. Luckily, I have the recipe for Perfect Cheesecake. This recipe really is incredible, and it’s traveled a long way to get on this blog. We got the recipe from–ready?–my husband’s college roommate’s dad’s campus pastor. You know that it’s gotta be good if it’s been passed down through that many layers.

Most cheesecakes I’ve had are rich and dense, making it difficult to consume vast quantities of the dessert after polishing off your Easter Feast. And I always want room for dessert! This cheesecake is different. It’s smooth and not too heavy, perfectly sweet without being overpowering. Over the years we’ve made a few tweaks to the original recipe (OK, they were actually mistakes, but they ended up tasting really great so we left them in!). This is a great recipe for making a day ahead if you’re pressed for time on Easter morning. You may want to make a few of these cheesecakes–one to share, and one for yourself!

Raspberry Cream Cheesecake

1 recipe for Graham Cracker pie crust or 1 store-bought Graham Cracker pie crust
3 eggs
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese (brought to room temperature)
3/4 cups white sugar
A few dashes of vanilla
8 ounces sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 pint fresh raspberries (you can use whatever berry you like, fresh or frozen, but this is our preference)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make your pie crust and set aside. Combine the eggs, cream cheese, sugar and a dash of vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend until creamy. Pour the cream cheese mixture into your prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool (the puffy browned top will fall and create a depression). Whip together the sour cream, sugar, another dash of vanilla and your berries. Spread the berry mixture over the top of the cooled cheesecake. Bake for another 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days (if you can manage to keep a cheesecake in your house that long without eating it!).

Easter Lily Handprint Craft

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I enjoy making gifts for the important people in my kids’ lives. Just a little something to show that we’re thinking of them and that we are grateful for all that they do for us. Easter seemed like a worthy occasion, so David and I went to work.

I used to make these Easter lilies with my first graders every Spring after we read the book The Parable of the Lily. It’s a wonderful story about how something ordinary and unexpected (like a flower bulb) can turn into something beautiful (like a lily). The story parallels the Easter story and has a great message about grace and forgiveness.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find my copy of the book this week, but I thought it would still be a fun little project for us to do together while baby brother was napping. David is still pretty young to do a project like this, so I ended up doing most of it. He helped out wherever he could, though–his favorite parts seemed to be helping to trace his hand and trying out the hole punch. Here’s how we made the lilies if you want to give it a go!

What you need:

  • white paper (I just used computer printer paper)
  • green paper (I used green copy paper, but construction paper or scrapbooking paper would work just as well)
  • small piece of yellow paper (or color a bit of paper yellow with a crayon)
  • crayon or pencil
  • scissors
  • tape
  • glue
  • hole punch

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What you do:

Trace your child’s hand onto the white paper. If you want to make more than one lily, you can fold the paper in half (or, if your child has tiny hands like mine, you can even fold it into quarters) before you trace so you can cut out multiple handprints from one piece of paper.

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Use the scissors to cut out the handprint. Then, use a pencil to curl each finger down.Roll the handprint into a tube shape and secure with a piece of tape.

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Use the hole punch to cut out small circles of yellow paper. Glue the yellow dots into the inside of the white handprint flower.


Roll a tube out of a strip of green paper–this will be your flower stem (you can make it as long and as wide as you want). Secure your paper tube with a piece of tape. Cut out leaves from your green paper scraps and tape them onto the stem. Put a dollop of glue on the bottom of your flower (“runny” glue works better than a glue stick for this part) and set the flower on top of the stem. Let your flower dry completely.

If you want, you can finish off your flowers with a card.

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Here are a couple of ideas for the text of the card:

1.
This isn’t just a lily
as you can plainly see.

I made it with my hand,
which God made a part of me.

It comes with lots of love
especially to say,
I hope you have a very
special Easter Day!

2.
A piece of me I give to you,
I used my thumb and fingers too,
To make this lily just for you.
It doesn’t smell, it doesn’t grow,
I made it because He loves us so.
Remember that on Good Friday,
Jesus died to wash our sins away.
They buried Him and 3 days passed,
He arose on Easter Sunday at last.

 

Ta-da! A beautiful and simple craft that will brighten anybody’s Easter!

 

Resurrection Roll Recipe and Bible Story

I love finding creative ways to teach important truths to kids. And I love it even more if I can find a way to tie food into the “lesson”. You can imagine my excitement, then, when I first discovered Resurrection Rolls.

Basically, Resurrection Rolls are a treat that you make where each step of the cooking process represents part of the Easter story. It’s a wonderful way to tell kids the Easter story AND the rolls themselves are sublime. I’ve had people make the rolls for me before, but this was my first time doing the whole project with David. He was able to help out a bit and was pretty engaged the whole time (even if he did keep trying to swipe marshmallows from my stash). I’ll definitely be doing this again next year–a new tradition has been born!

What you’ll need:

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  • 1 package of crescent rolls
  • 8 large marshmallows (plus extras to snack on while you’re waiting for the rolls to bake!)
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar plus 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking sheet
  • Bible (or use the “script” below)

How It’s Done:

IMG_1513Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is preheating, get out your Bible and open up to John 19 or find the Easter story in a children’s Bible (my favorite is the Jesus Storybook Bible). Below you’ll find the pictures and the “script” for how I told the story to David (he’s only 2 years old, so I kept it simple for him).

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Say: “Even though Jesus was perfect and had never sinned–he had never ever done anything wrong– some people did not like him. They wanted to hurt Jesus because he said he was God. They made Jesus carry a cross and they killed him. This made God very sad, but it was all part of His great rescue plan. When Jesus died, his friends took his body off the cross.”

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Do: Give your child a marshmallow
Say: “This marshmallow represents Jesus’ body. Jesus died for you and for me, because we have sinned and we need to be rescued from our sin.”

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Say: “After Jesus died, his friends came and they put special oil and spices on Jesus’ body to get him ready for burial.”
Do: Roll the marshmallow in melted butter, then in cinnamon sugar

Say: “Next, Jesus’ friends wrapped his body in special cloths–almost like a mummy! Jesus had died, and they were getting his body ready to bury.”
Do: Roll the cinnamon-sugar marshmallow up in a crescent roll (it won’t look like a crescent roll). Press all of the seams firmly. Repeat for each of the crescent rolls. Place the rolls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

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Say: “Next, they laid Jesus’ body in a tomb. A tomb is like a big cave carved out of rock. Then big, strong soldiers rolled a heavy rock in front of the tomb so nobody could get in or out of the tomb. They even put a special seal over the entrance so they would know if anybody tried to move the rock that was in front of the entrance. Soldiers stood in front of the tomb to guard it day and night.”
Do: Put the rolls in the oven and set your timer for 10-12 minutes. Let the rolls bake until they are golden-brown. I even let David stand guard in front of our oven “tomb” with his toy sword.

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Say: “Jesus was dead in the tomb for three days. Let’s count to three: one, two, three. How many days was he in the tomb? That’s right, three days.”
(We had some time to wait for the rolls, so I let David play while they were baking. I kept going back to him, though, and we’d repeat this whole conversation about how long Jesus was in the tomb.)

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Do: When the rolls are done baking, take them out of the oven and let them cool (I let mine cool for about 20 minutes, and that was perfect). The marshmallow will probably have exploded out of your rolls, but that’s to be expected (that’s why we put down the parchment paper!). After the rolls have cooled…

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Say: “Three days after Jesus had died, an angel of God appeared to one of Jesus’ friends. He told her that Jesus was alive! Jesus’ friends decided to look in the tomb where they had put Jesus’ body, but when they did, it was empty! Jesus had risen! And still today, Jesus is alive. Today he lives in heaven with God.”
Do: Cut open one of the rolls. The marshmallow has melted, so the “tomb” is now empty.

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Do: Eat your yummy rolls!
Say: “These rolls are sweet, just like the love of God. God made you and he loves you very much. And some day, if you choose to love and follow God, you will be able to spend forever and ever in heaven with him and Jesus. The Bible tells us that Jesus is our Great Rescuer. The Bible tells us that the only way to Heaven is through loving and believing in Jesus. We celebrate Easter, because Jesus died and rose again so that we could have a way to Heaven.”

Sweet Curried Chicken Recipe and This Week’s Menu

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When I was doing my student teaching I wrote a bio for my class so they could get to know me. And, me being me, I wrote half of the bio about how much I love cooking and eating. One sweet first grader brought me in a recipe card the next day. On it, he had written down one of his favorite family recipes (OK, his mom had actually written it, but he was so proud handing it over to me that he may as well have penned it himself). The recipe was for what he called “yellow chicken”–baked chicken with a sweet curry sauce. Now, 8 years later, that little first grader is now a teenager–and his favorite family recipe is now one of my favorite family recipes. I love this recipe because it’s quick to throw together and it’s a real crowd-pleaser. I’ve made this chicken dozens of times and it’s still just as delicious as the first time I made it. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Zach’s Yellow Chicken (Sweet Curried Chicken)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
*Optional* Cooked rice and roasted veggies for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put the chicken breasts into an 8-inch square baking dish. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, honey, mustard, curry powder and salt; cook over medium heat, stirring until the mixture begins to bubble. Pour the curry sauce over the chicken breasts and bake until cooked through (about 30 minutes).

We like to serve the chicken over cooked rice. I also like to make a pan of roasted veggies to put in the oven at the same time as the chicken: wash, rinse, peel and chop into small pieces whatever veggies you desire (potatoes, carrots, squash, onions, and yams all work great). Toss the veggies with some olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put the pan of veggies in the oven at the same time as the chicken. They should all be done at about the same time (just poke the veggies with a fork to see if they are soft). One more thing: the sauce is insane. I usually make a double batch of the sauce because I basically douse my entire plate in the stuff.

What I’m Cooking This Week
-Sweet Curried Chicken (recipe above)
-Grilled tri-tip and mashed potatoes
-Steak stir fry (using leftover tri-tip)
-Crockpot chicken Taco soup
-Fried rice and potstickers